Private Prayers

Johanna Polus
Personal prayers recorded by the famous and the ordinary, as well as spiritually-minded essays on art, literature, and whatever else catches my fancy.
Created 03 May 2021
  • The Devil Is A Mirror
    11 Nov 2021 • 10 min read
    This week I’m finishing James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner: Written by Himself: With a detail of curious traditionary facts and other evidence by the editor (how’s ...
  • Anatomy of an Unlikely Political Friendship
    09 Nov 2021 • 10 min read
    Shaw and Chesterton by Max Beerbohm, 1909 Imagine you have a friend whose politics couldn’t be further apart from yours; in fact, you find his positions retrograde, if not ridiculous. Imagine that sam...
  • Caring For the Parents Who Failed You
    20 Oct 2021 • 14 min read
    Artwork by Heather Stivison I just booked airline tickets for another trip from the East Coast to California. Not for pleasure, but for business: I need to check in on my parents to see how they’re fu...
  • The Beast At the Door
    10 Oct 2021 • 10 min read
    Detail, The Farmer’s Wife and the Poor Devil So I’ve finally took it upon myself to read the Hebrew Bible from beginning to end – a challenge I’ve been meaning to tackle forever. I just started Judges...
  • A Chat With God About My Narcissistic Tendencies
    30 Sep 2021 • 1 min read
    Dear God: Why can’t I seem to want Your esteem the way I want other peoples’ esteem? Even the esteem of those I’ve never known. I know You’ve blessed me. I know You’ve saved me from myself, so many ti...
  • The Prayers of Robert Louis Stevenson
    28 Jun 2021 • 5 min read
    Stevenson, family and servants at Villa Vailima, circa 1890 Confession: I purchased an antique copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Prayers Written at Vailima, not out of any particular interest in Steven...
  • A Prayer for Insomniacs
    08 Jun 2021 • < 1 min read
    God grant me rest. In the thick of night I lie awake, unable to still my thoughts. Let me be like the dog at my side, sighing in contentment in my sleep. Let me be like the cat curled at my feet, know...
  • A Devotional Poet in Victorian England: Charlotte Jane Thresher
    04 Jun 2021 • 1 min read
    I recently purchased a set of pages taken from the album of one Thomas Swinfen Thresher — an Englishman who, if the November 22, 1870 London Gazette is to be believed, was the co-proprietor of Threshe...
  • The Prayers of Samuel Johnson
    21 May 2021 • 4 min read
    I wasn’t very familiar with Samuel Johnson when I read the compilation of his personal devotional writings, Doctor Johnson’s Prayers (Elton Trueblood, editor). In fact, I only knew him as the author o...
  • A Prayer For Slights and Stings
    13 May 2021 • < 1 min read
    God give me the grace to forgive petty slights and small stings. Let them pass through my heart like water through a sieve. My Self wants to keep the memory of every thoughtless remark or act directed...
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